The COVID-19 virus may have claimed its third victim in Nigeria without Infection as a soldier of the Nigeria Army shot and killed a young man for violating the lockdown in Warri, Delta State.
The Delta state government had declared a lockdown in order to prevent the COVID-19 virus from being brought into the state by travellers from states with infected people.
Things however went south on Thursday, April 2, after a youth was shot dead by soldiers leading to protests in the oil city of Warri.
According to reports, the young man, Joseph Pesu went to buy fuel during the lockdown.
He was chased by soldiers who tried to arrest him. When he refused to stop, he was shot and killed.
This prompted angry reactions from a crowd of youths who pounced on soldiers at the scene.
The reaction of soldiers who swept into Warri town shooting indiscriminately into the air did not deter the youths as they continued to protest and burn tyres throughout the City.
It took the intervention of the Local Government chairman of Warri South, Hon. Michael Tidi and the Commanding officer of 3 Battalion Effurun to pacify the youths.
They allegedly apprehended the soldier who pulled the trigger and promised to ensure that Justice is done.
Reacting to the incident, the Minister of State for Labour and Employment, Festus Keyamo condemned the killing of Mr. Joseph by soldiers and promised to write a petition against the Army for the killing.
His statement said:
1. THURSDAY, APRIL 2, 2020
PRESS STATEMENT BY FESTUS KEYAMO, SAN, FCIARB (UK), HON. MINISTER OF STATE (LABOUR AND EMPLOYMENT), FEDERAL REPUBLIC OF NIGERIA
I CONDEMN THE KILLING OF INNOCENT LIVE(S) IN WARRI BY SOLDIERS ENFORCING COVID-19 LOCKDOWN.
2. I have received disturbing reports and images of the high-handedness and shooting of innocent citizens by men of the armed forces deployed to enforce the COVID-19 lockdown in my State, Delta State.
3. Specifically, I have received reports of the killing of an innocent young man, Mr. Joseph Pessu in Warri. I unreservedly condemn this barbaric act by men of the armed forces who should exercise restraint when dealing with the civilian populace.
4. I will be forwarding a petition to the relevant authorities to thoroughly investigate this murder and bring the officer(s) to book. In the interim, let us not take the laws into our hands, please.
5. I will also use this medium to sincerely appeal to my brothers and sisters in Delta State to be law-abiding and obey the orders of restrictions imposed by both the Delta State Government and the Federal Government. They are lawful orders and they are for our own good.
6. Images and reports of attack on law-enforcement agents by the civilian populace do not help our cause.
I call on all and sundry in the entire country too to exercise the utmost restraint at this point.
Festus Keyamo, SAN, FCIArb(UK)